the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Alexandria Goodman ’25
Over the past decade, rapper Nicki Minaj has been in multiple online controversies. From disputes with fellow artists to disagreements with fans, it is safe to assume Minaj has cultivated a negative presence in the online sphere. The most recent controversy dates back to last year when Minaj and her fans attacked a journalist for commenting on her husband’s criminal record; Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty, is a registered sex offender in New York. Minaj’s fans ruthlessly harassed the journalist for days; some of Minaj’s fans threatened to dox the journalist’s address, and others threatened to show up at the journalist’s niece’s preschool. While Minaj claims she had no direct involvement with the recent bombardment, one cannot deny there is a pattern with this kind of behavior. Minaj’s fans often attack her “haters” while Minaj agitates the situation. After the event, Minaj excuses her fan’s behavior by describing them as supportive or cutthroat, and the cycle continues. But why? Why is this behavior encouraged and forgiven?
I believe Minaj has a codependent relationship with her fanbase. Her fans depend on her for music and other artist-related content, and Minaj herself depends on her fans for validation. The “Barbs,” the online name for Minaj’s supporters, attack anyone who says anything negative about her in a cult-like fashion. They eat, breathe, and sleep, Nicki Minaj. If the fans of another artist behaved this way, the artist’s public relations team would immediately distance themselves. However, Minaj likes to egg on her fanbase and become directly involved in what’s happening. It’s rare to see an artist have such a hands-on relationship with their supporters as Minaj does. This symbiotic relationship with her fans is tarnishing Minaj’s reputation in the music industry and her legacy. Minaj is undeniably a talented rapper; it would be disingenuous to say otherwise. Still, many are hesitant to collaborate with her. They do not want to be associated with her rancid fanbase.
To my earlier statement about validation, I think Minaj is insecure. This insecurity either stems from being a woman in the male-dominated rapping industry or participating in the cutthroat culture of the music industry. As a culture, hip-hop has never been welcoming to women. One only needs to look at the lyrics in many famous rap albums like “Her Loss” and any albums by Eminem to see why. A female rapper has to be disproportionately talented to be recognized by her peers, but male rappers can be below average. An environment like this would put pressure on anyone. One also has to account for the subject matter of Minaj’s lyrics.
Minaj raps about explicit subjects and things we would expect from younger rappers. As she ages, listeners might become more uncomfortable with her lyrics. As a society, there is an expectation for people, especially women, to become more family-friendly as they grow older. I think Minaj knows her window is closing in terms of rapping material. Additionally, I think the music industry is inherently competitive. The industry is over-saturated with different artists and genres. Every musician is competing with everyone to break records and get number one songs. It is a space that pits people against each other and breeds toxicity, which is why Minaj’s toxicity is not surprising to me. Minaj knows that she can’t be the best female rapper for long. She refuses to accept this with pride and dignity and attacks anyone who makes a mere mention of it.
I think Minaj needs to figure out the source of her insecurity. If she doesn’t, I believe her career might be over due to her tendency to fight with other people. Anyways, Beyonce announced the Renaissance tour dates!